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What could be better than a margarita (or two) shared among friends?

Probably nothing, and I can imagine that’s why the good people at the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance have—for more than a decade—hosted the World Margarita Championship right here in the Old Pueblo.

On Friday, Aug. 2, a panel of local culinary experts, guest judges and event attendees made their way through food and beverage samplings from Southern Arizona’s most creative culinarians, all in the beautiful backdrop of Westward Look.

From corn salad to elderberry margaritas, just about every taste bud on the tongue had a moment of glory. While it’s extremely difficult to name a single “Best Of” from the night, we were asked to submit some votes—and the Tucson Local Media Tasting Team was on-hand to sort through the various flavors.

Of all the margaritas, my personal favorite actually came as a nice and simple surprise: I couldn’t get enough of the Lookout Bar & Grille’s classic margarita. It was a refreshing sip courtesy of mixologist Todd Sciolo.

In terms of prepared food, the entire tasting team was blown away by the savory puff pastry squares courtesy of Rocco DiGrazia of Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria. Shoutout to Rocco for proving to plenty of people that night that vegetarian  food doesn’t have to taste like cardboard.

The judging panel decided on Cielos at the Lodge on the Desert’s “Monsoon Margarita,” while the People’s Choice award went to Benson City Grille’s “Cilantro Jalapeño Lime Margarita.”

Cielos also picked up a win for Best Menu Sample for its “Chiltepin Chocolate Mudslide Sensation.”

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